I DIDN’T PICK UP a suitcase of my own free will to move to the United States of America fifty years ago. My mother, whom I had not known very well despite having spent most of my life with her, decided that. I resented her greatly for quite a long time for forcing me to leave my country on June 27, 1965.
That Sunday afternoon, when I finally opened my eyes, I saw that I was as close to the sun as I had ever been in my life. Bright-white clouds floated above the azure sky like oversize cotton balls. I was gazing through the side window of a very large airplane, thousands of miles above Haiti, the only home I had ever known. My sister, Viola, held my hand, but despite the turns we each took consoling the other, tears soaked our cheeks. She was fourteen years old and I was twelve. I was crying because I didn’t want to be on the plane. I didn’t want to fly away from my home, my family, my country—everything I knew and loved.